14 time NCAA All-American with the University of Arizona, Coley Stickels, uses the “Pivot Drill” to teach his athletes how to set the catch and use the hands to thrust forward on the freestyle stroke. The timing and pivoting action developed in this drill will help swimmers become more efficient freestylers.
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off from the wall with a snorkel. To begin, put one hand out in front of the shoulder and kick eight times. On the eighth kick, set the high elbow catch and pull the hand straight down toward the bottom of the pool. After that, flatten the hips and go into a recovery position. Repeat for the length of the pool. It’s important to avoid overreaching during this drill, and athletes should also keep their kick consistent and their elbow close to the surface of the water.
Mother McAuley High School head coach and 2013 Illinois High School Class 4A State Champion, Jen DeJarld, teaches you the jump float spin serve. This serve is an excellent tool for players to learn and can be very difficult for teams to defend, especially at the high school level.
Drill Summary: This serve is a hybrid of the jump float serve and a spin serve. To execute the serve, do a two step run up, toss the ball with two hands, throw the power of your body behind it and hit it with topspin. Practice makes perfect!
University of Illinois associate head coach, Mark Perry, presents a few of the techniques he uses from the top position. Moves like the ones in this video are what helped Perry gain an edge over his opponents while he went on to win two NCAA Championships at the University of Iowa.
Drill Summary: Coach Perry urges all wrestlers to figure out the top position technique they are comfortable with, then stick to it during all matches. Some of the things he likes to do include: knee to back prior to the whistle, squeeze the opponent prior to the whistle (to take the air out of them), push forward with the inside arm immediately after the whistle and secure a claw inside. No matter what you do, Coach Perry urges you to think “Attack!”
John Ridgway, Central Michigan University throws coach, uses the “Rotation Drill” to work on the balance of his discus throwers. By staying on the ball of their feet and having their body move as one unit, athletes will learn how to set up a solid base for every time they launch the discuss.
Drill Summary: Athletes progress from a quarter turn, to a half turn, to a 360 degree turn, to a 450 degree turn in this drill progression. In all four turns, the proper technique includes beginning in a balanced position with weight evenly distributed over both legs. Next, turn the left leg and have it lead the turn before transferring balance onto it. As the athlete starts to turn, their left side should be locked in and their body should move as a unit.
Keys to the Drill:
2) Chest up.
3) Shoulders level.
4) Move as a unit.
The forward start can set the tone for the entire race, whether it’s good or bad. Bill Wadley, head coach at Ohio State University and former Big 10 Coach of the Year, shows you the details of the ready position that will help swimmers jump out to faster starts.
Drill Summary: To get in a ready position, the swimmer must take their place with a relaxed body. The heel of their front foot should be about a foot in front of the toes of their back foot. Their hands, including their thumb, should be in front of and gripping the front of the block. The hip, knee, and ankle of their back leg should be in line and their back foot should be on the ball of their foot. Finally, there should be a slight flexion in their back knee and it’s important that their back heel is up, not down. From that position, the swimmer should be able to enter a coil (but not sitting down) and spring off the block for a fast start.